Saturday, October 10, 2009

City of Oakland parking tow sting harms Oaklanders

More at | Follow me on Twitter! | Get my widget! | Visit YouTube | Visit

As Oakland Councilmembers like Jean Quan remind you that on Tuesday they voted to roll back parking enforcement times from 8 P.M. to 6 P.M., a terrible and really hurtful act is being done by the City of Oakland and its harming a lot of Oaklanders.

The City of Oakland's instructed parking enforcement staff to just check license plates on cars to make sure the registrations' up to date. If it's not, even if the car's legally parked and regardless of the records error the driver is fighting, they will tow it. This is happening every day and now it happened to me.

I had a DMV registration charge that I proved was too high from 2008. My 2009 costs were paid already but this complex matter has been in dispute and we finally resolved it and at a cost I could afford. Meanwhile I was barely using the car for obvious reasons, and staying around the neighborhood. But, late for a lunch meeting on Thursday, I parked on the street, paid the meter ticket, and when I came out less than the time I had paid for, the car was gone.

That was a punch in the stomach. Fortunately I am able to pay DMV on Monday, but I learned the City of Oakland's towing cars on what many, many people have described as a "sting" operation. I've walked by random Oaklanders who say they can't afford to get their car out of the tow yard and they were legally parked.

That's terrible.

Yes. We can all say that we should work to keep our registration up to date, but in the past the City of Oakland would give you an "expired tag" ticket which at least gave one time to get the money to fix the problem.

A lot of people are without work - no job at all. No money coming in to pay for anything or just barely getting by. I overheard one man say he had to spend almost $2,000 for his car. A friend of mine on Facebook posted that she owed $1,400 in tickets. Fortunately she, like me, has a job.

But the problem is the City of Oakland's parking records are faulty and don't reflect if a payment for a ticket was made through DMV (as I do) in a timely fashion. In other words, it could take years for the payment of a ticket to show up in the City's records.

Does that mean if you paid DMV registration which covered a ticket two years ago, the City of Oakland's records may not reflect that - and you could pay twice?


This is an outrage of massive proportions because it comes at a time when people need their money just to make ends meet. I'm happy to be in the position I'm in and have money coming in, but I feel for those I just happen to over hear on the street or the gym or talk to.

It's a rampant Oakland parking tow sting operation.

Some people don't like to talk about it which is why it goes "under the radar" while the City Council pats itself on the back for rolling back parking times. Big deal. I'm blogging about it because I'm no different than anyone else except I do have a "big mouth" and I'm using it to help those less fortunate.

City of Oakland, stop this sting operation, NOW. Please. You're hurting a lot of Oaklanders in a city who's unemployment rate is at around 25 percent or more in some areas. It's not right to try and balance the budget on the backs of Oakland's poor. They need their cars just to get to whatever job they may find; now you take that away from them for your own money needs.

That's not right at all. Help Oaklanders, don't hurt them. Some cold folks out there may jump for joy over the misfortune of others because they are "anti-car" but that's really selfish. Some of those same Oaklanders have no problem asking a person with a car for a ride home. Now if that person doesn't have a car, the anti-car person's stuck too, right?


City of Oakland and City Administrator Dam Lindheim, how about a more civil way of handling this? Or does it have to happen to you before you get what others are feeling? I hope not.

Lee Corso Stroke, Eddie Robinson, and Cal v. UCLA - college football today

More at | Follow me on Twitter! | Get my widget! | Visit YouTube | Visit

Today marks the sixth week of a rapidly moving 2009 NCAA College Football Season. I didn't know ESPN College Football Analyst Lee Corso suffered a stroke in May of this year, but apparently he's returned to form in fine fashion today, still carrying a full load at 73 years of age. (My Mom still insists on working at 75.) I don't always agree with Corso's picks but I enjoy his enthusiasm for the game.

Lee Corso of ESPN 

Today also marks the anniversary of late Grambling Coach Eddie Robinson's 324th win in 1985, pushing him past legendary Alabama Coach Bear Bryant as the winningest coach in college football history. Coach Robinson. It's hard for me to think of him as gone; his presence is just that powerful.

Coach Robinson gave us some of the greatest players in history, including Washington Redskins quarterback Doug Williams, who led the 'skins to victory in Super Bowl XXII, becoming the first and still the only African American quarterback to win a Super Bowl and gain the MVP award.

Cal v. UCLA a must win big game

And my beloved but suffering California Golden Bears have a must win game against UCLA down there today. Unfortunately, given the way UCLA was manhandled by Stanford last week, this Pac-10 battle's a must win for them too.

I will hold out hope that Cal's offense actually scores a touchdown or five for the first time in three weeks. Will Cal Offensive Coordinator Andy Ludwig take the advice I gave him on Monday? We shall see. I still say GO BEARS!

Giants Should Rest Eli because this could be a “Jungle Ambush”

Giants Should Rest Eli because this could be a “Jungle Ambush” By Dr. Bill Chachkes-Executive Editor-Football Reporters Online

Why risk it? That is what I would think If I were Coach Coughlin. So the guy started 82 strait games. It’s not like he has Brett Farve’s ego. New York Is 4-0(again), and can’t afford to loose Eli now that he’s probably playing his best football, at least since the championship run, to date.

In case anyone hasn’t noticed, they play Oakland this weekend. They have been one of the worst teams in the NFL since they lost to Tampa Bay in the Superbowl. In the official media speak coming out of Giants land, Eli is “questionable” for Sunday’s contest. “A Game time decision, if the medical staff think he can play he will play” said Coach Coughlin on Friday. The coach also said he was “encouraged” by the way manning looked in practiced. But there are other considerations. This would be the one regular season opportunity to let David Carr show how much he has learned from “Real” NFL offensive coaches, and having the benefit of playing behind a real NFL offensive line. It would also be a good time to get rookie Rhett Bomar into the game if the Giants are at least 2 scores ahead in the 4th quarter.

It’s true that Raiders QB JaMarcus Russell is making progress towards being the Quarterback everyone expected him to be coming out of the NFL Draft From LSU in 2007. It’s also true that the Raiders are actually trying to build a team around him. What we have yet to see is Oakland put it all together in one game this season. If the Giants come Into this game thinking that Oakland is an easy win, If they play as unfocused, with as many miscues as they did last week at times against Kansas City, then this could become the mother of all trap games for New York. A Real Nightmare of the kind you would have the night before you proposed marriage to your Girlfriend (what if she says no?).

The Raiders are a team in turmoil, as most people would expect of any recent Al Davis led effort. Head coach Tom Cable is facing arrest for punching out one of his assistant coaches, and the team isn’t sure who would take over in that event. I know I’m going to be on the Flatbush Avenue hit list here (the street in Brooklyn NY where Davis is from), but it’s really time for Mr. Davis to go play some shuffle board at the retirement home, and leave the day to day operations of the franchise to his Children and whomever they hire to run things. I’d be glad to serve on a search team to find a real “Football man”, a manager to run things. I’m not the first person who feels that way either. At least one person I know very well is still the object of harassment by Raiders’ front office personnel to this day.

Football, like Soldiering, Is a young man’s game or at least for the young of heart and mind. You can’t tell me at 83 that Davis isn’t driving himself into the ground watching 4-5 hours of tape a day, as some report he still does. Yes, even until as far back as 15 years ago he was still one of the sharpest minds in all of Pro sports, not just football. But everyone looses the edge with age. Even though the Raiders won’t regain theirs until some changes are made, a dull knife can still kill someone.

Obama Nobel Peace Prize reveals American ignorance of elite politics

More at | Follow me on Twitter! | Get my widget! | Visit YouTube | Visit

Someone wrote a comment on my YouTube video - those are the only one's I read because they're a mix of the stupid and the great, but seldom psychotic - regarding President Obama's winning the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize that essentially speeches are meaningless.

I chuckled.

I immediately recalled the teachings of my favorite book on politics the "Irony of Democracy" by Thomas R. Dye and L. Harmon Ziglar. Dye and Ziglar take an "elites versus masses" lens to view politics and come away with a view that's worthy of study itself. Essentially, the elite ruling class exists as a needed counter to the chaos of democracy and "mob rule". From this perspective there's little difference between Democrats and Republicans.

(As an aside, I'm an elitist who believes that such a "ruling class" is not only necessary but desired if only to give the masses as set of "human guidelines" on how to conduct ones self. Thus, anyone who's racist or any "ist" is not part of this class and considered a socially unacceptable part of mass culture. While some may claim that elitists are sexist, elite culture is not immune to inclusive change; women and minorities make up a far greater part of the overall power structure today than in the past.)

Dye and Ziglar instructed me that, far from just a figurehead, a president sets the tone and moves policy more often than not just by a speech or a statement.

That presidential comment is picked up by the media and spread to the masses for consumption in such a way that the President essentially commands what we as a society pays at least some attention to. In Obama's case this has been global warming, nuclear proliferation, race relations, and United States and Muslim relations.

The awarding of the Nobel Prize to Obama has catapulted him into a rarefied air that makes him almost untouchable. President Obama has been anointed an elite leader on a World scale and is now someone who must be heard not just because he's President of The United States, but because he's one who's Nobel Award says his actions and way and person signal positive change for the World.

The Nobel Foundation has set the table for Obama's emergence one the World stage as a difference maker. This puts the GOP in a double-bind: to oppose him now is to go against one of the most important leaders in the history of the free World and one who's America's leader. The Nobel award is a massive repudiation of several decades of Republican "Cowboy" diplomacy.

On Friday, some rather droll White House reporter was ranting on asking White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs why Ronald Reagan didn't gain such an award. The answer's easy: under President Reagan one had the uneasy feeling he could push the red button and get us all blown to hell at any time. He was trying to reduce what was then called "The Soviet Empire"; one doesn't get a peace prize of any kind for that objective.

Reagan's constant saber-rattling against the Soviet Union had many of us considering moving to Canada just to be out of the way of the possible results of his reckless abandon. While in the end Reagan essentially broke the economic back of Russia, he did so by paying the heavy price of having America considered the World's then-new bully.

President Clinton, for all of the attention he paid to the Mideast, didn't reach out to enemies in the diplomatic way President Obama has. And Clinton was so busy playing Neo-liberal to counter the Republicans in Congress he didn't fashion the kind of diplomatic strategy Obama has done. And while Clinton was called the First Black President, it's obvious that Obama's the real black president, but also part white, bringing a unique life experience to bear on the problems of America and the World.

Obama's Nobel Prize win, as much as Conservatives want it to be, is no accident. It came from the Presidents risk-taking work in making daring speeches and visits to dangerous places to bring disparate people together. Obama has done this over and over again.